Have you ever felt you needed a break from yourself? That you would like to jump on a plane to Tahiti just carrying your body -- your mind would have to stay somewhere else, otherwise everything was ruined? Have you ever wondered how to stop your obnoxious thoughts rather than downing two bottles of pinot noir? I often catch myself in the middle of the streets of NY wanting to scream: now Shavasana everybody! (If you don't know, Shavasana is also known as corpse pose; it's those last five minutes of a yoga class where everybody lays down silently together).
If you are 100% satisfied with yourself and with who you are and none of this sounds familiar at all, stop reading and get back on the spaceship you came from.
The thing is, I have always had this person living inside of my head. His name is Woody Allen. You might understand better after you see the movie I've made. It's an interactive documentary made for the web and is called How Yoga Helped Me Get Over Woody Allen.
Just a brief background: I am a Brazilian journalist and my business in life has been telling stories. So for the past 12 years I've been telling other people's stories and considering their point of view. Now I am telling my own. It is deeply personal -- to the point of embarrassment. It's frightening but also liberating.
So, all of this started on a beautiful day in a therapist divan. I turned to her and said:
You know, I've been really worried.
With what, she asked.
I am worried I am not worried today. I must be missing something this Monday.
That sounded really Woody Allenish. I realized there was something there.
I have been intrigued by neurotic personalities my whole life. I love the drama and to laugh about it. I am the president of the existential dissatisfaction society. Believe me. Not to mention that I'm a practicing neurotic and I've gotten very good at it.
Well, I decided to make the piece because I am 100% sure I am not alone in my struggle and I don't want anyone else in the world to be. My dream is to empower people to see beyond magazine stand standards -- how the women look, how much they weigh, how they age or whatever form of sexist social validation we think we need. It might be quixotic. But most dreams are and this is a dream that is very dear to my heart. It's who I want to be.
Technology and yoga have been teaching me that we are all a work in progress. You don't throw a painting out if it doesn't look good -- you study it. Nobody is a failure -- we are like white canvases and we spend our whole life creating works of art, even if is pure agony.
Another lesson learned during the process of making this documentary is that at some point it's not about knowledge but about faith and trust in the process, in your process. We can't waste our lives waiting for other people to save us. And I kind of did most of this by myself. In some moments I prayed and hoped for the code fairy or the programmer fairy to stop by. Of course they didn't. So the answer is do not give up. It doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop. And that is true in yoga as well. Nobody shows up day one is able to balance in headstand in the middle of the room.
Also, we can use our neuroses to learn. At the end of the day a heart that doesn't bleed can't heal. Neither can a heart that doesn't laugh.
Time after time the practice of yoga postures and also trying to figure out a new software or a new programming language showed me the importance of having a routine and that is pivotal to just stop to pay attention and observe myself. I learned to understand my limitations and my potential; knowing that at some points are going to be frustrating as hell but the following day you might figure things out.
So, if I could leave you today with a message I would like it to be that we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. Be kind to yourselves, give yourself permission to be human and make mistakes and don't ever let your struggle define you.
Finally, as my pal Woody says, if you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. Yes, he is still here, but is the yogi version of himself.
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